A WORLD WITHOUT GOD
Great and Holy God, You are my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. I bless Your name.
Read REVELATION 9:1–21
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Even in the midst of lawlessness, God is working out his plan: and neither the sins of mankind nor the schemes of Satan will hinder him from accomplishing his will” (Warren W. Wiersbe).
I am a massive fan of The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien). I read it avidly as a teenager and have watched the Peter Jackson films again and again. One of the most vivid features of the films is the depiction of the forces of evil—Saruman, Sauron (although we don’t know what he looks like) and their henchmen, the orcs and uruk-hai. With their thirst for blood and ruthlessness in battle, they become a parody of the human character. Their shuffling march and motley assembly of weapons are a poor imitation of the beauty and discipline of the elves.
Yet Tolkien was not simply creating a fantasy world, unconnected to reality. It was his deep response to the horrors of the First World War and his grief at the loss of his friends. This chapter does something similar. The locusts, with their chaotic mixture of human and animal features, are a demonic parody of the living creatures around the throne. Their hideous cacophony contrasts with the harmonious singing of the elders and creatures. The suffering they inflict is a vivid portrayal of life in a world handed over by God to the powers of chaos that have been chosen in the rejection of truth (Rom. 1:24).
This chaos is still under the ordering of God as judgment comes. Order is seen in the numbering of the trumpet blasts—even if that ordering is strained to its limits. “The effect is something like an orchestral performance in which the strings scrape dissonant chords, while woodwinds shriek… in what seems to be a wild discord—except that all the players move to the steady beat that is set by the conductor’s hand: one, two, three, four…” (Craig R. Koester). Though the reasonable response of repentance is not forthcoming (21), God’s judgment will be complete and finally his order will be established in all heaven and earth (Rev. 21:5).
How has your faith affected and enriched your life? What would it be like if you had not come to faith?
Mighty One, through all the turbulence of this world, You will have the last word. Thanks be to God.
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